I know it seems like I’m starting this out with a digression, but I promise it’s related: Recently someone suggested a girls’ night out to me, and asked me what I’d like to go do, and I had to explain that it has been SO LONG since I left the house purely for fun and without my children, I could probably go sit at Taco Bell and watch people consume their not-beef tacos and find that totally entertaining. (Oddly enough, I haven’t heard back since I shared that little tidbit. Huh.)
The thing of it is, I’m kind of a homebody, and most of the time I’m very easily entertained. I watch a lot of television. Probably too much television, quite honestly, but I find it soothing and mindless and a good way to unwind after a day of working and child-wrangling.
Okay. All of that is preface to explaining that ZOMG THE ROKU IS THE BEST THING EVER. I was already dangerously dependent on the television before we got the Roku, but now, man, NETFLIX STREAMING. Our typical Netflix M.O. is to receive a disc in the mail and then bicker over WHO put THAT in the queue, and then we leave the disc sitting next to the television for four months before we finally concede defeat and send it back in for the next disc we won’t watch. But we use the live streaming all the time. Which means we are simultaneously reliving our glory days AND finally catching up on modern pop culture.
For example: Right now Otto and I are working our way through Arrested Development, which I have to confess I had never seen before we started doing this. It’s not only completely ridiculous and a great way to unwind in the evening, there are about seven zillion episodes and they’re all right there on the Roku! Brilliant!
Another example: The kids really enjoyed it when I
forced allowed them to watch Labryinth with me, even when I told them I used to have a huge crush on David Bowie. (Chickadee did tell me that was “kind of creepy,” and she wasn’t wrong.)
But, see, sometimes it all goes wrong. Sometimes the memory plays tricks on you, you know? Especially when you’re old, like Otto and I are.
Right after Monkey had his surgery, Chickadee was off with her dad and Otto gleefully announced that he’d found Time Bandits available for livestreaming, so he’d added it to the Roku. “Remember that?” Otto said to me. “I loved that movie! ‘So THAT’s what an invisible barrier looks like!'”
We laughed and I agreed that I, too, had fond memories of Time Bandits. We figured Monkey would enjoy it, and it’s always a little treat for him to get to see something his sister doesn’t.
It’s true that I remember seeing that movie when I was a kid, and also true that I was ready for the special effects to be kind of craptastic, because that’s just the way it is when you’re watching a movie from 1981 thirty years later. (Related: Hi! I’m old!) So we all cuddled up on the couch and prepared to enjoy a “great old movie.”
Have you seen Time Bandits? I mean, recently? The parents in this movie are HORRIFYING, and even though (spoiler alert!) they’re burned to a crisp at the end, which in theory should be sort of gratifying, right after they’re incinerated, the firemen get in their trucks and drive away and leave our 8ish-year-old protagonist standing amidst the rubble of his house ALL ALONE. And then… roll credits!
“What’s going to happen to him now?” asked Monkey, in a small voice.
Good question! Hey, who wants some ice cream and to NEVER EVER SPEAK OF THIS MOVIE AGAIN? Meeeeeeeeeeeee!
Last night we decided to watch Big because, c’mon, that’s a classic. Tom Hanks! Little kid turned adult hijinks! Awesome!
Two problems with this: First, I sometimes forget that movies rated PG from the time before PG-13 was an option are actually not entirely appropriate for children. There’s some profanity in Big, which wasn’t a huge deal, but oops.
Second, somehow I forgot that our protagonist—a 13-year-old transformed overnight into an adult—actually (spoiler alert!) has sex with his girlfriend. (All I’d remembered was the first night she sleeps over, and they sleep in his bunkbeds. Hilarious! And not sex!)
So there’s a scene where said girlfriend starts disrobing, and Tom Hanks’ eyes get real big and he reaches out and puts a hand on her skimpy-bra-covered breast.
And then Monkey began making retching noises. So I covered his eyes, because I’m an awesome parent. Problem solved!
He’s supposed to be THIRTEEN! I have a kid who’s (nearly) thirteen! ACK! AAAAAAAACK!
And then, of course, at the end of the movie he changes back and walks into his house and… everything is fine again. His absence of six weeks (or maybe more) is… forgiven? Never spoken of again? And we’re supposed to believe that even though he was living in the big city and screwing with abandon it’s no big deal that he’s back to being a kid again? WHAT THE HELL??
Why were all of these movies so much better and less horrifying back in the day?